two pillars of social strategy: building & converting

I had a very real “moment” with myself this week.

This week, I wanted to make sure to section off pieces of time to dedicate to my own self-development and progression. I’ve spent the last few months trying to get adjusted to new responsibilities and new opportunities and in between, staying on top of my workouts and making sure I recharge (because I would go insane if I didn’t!) I’m officially in for some huge changes in my life – and so I’ve spent a large part of my downtime preparing to make sure the changes are flawless. My focus has been on so many other things, that I’ve neglected reading and I’ve neglected writing; two things I need and love.  I read to improve and I write to gain better clarity to the sometimes unorganized mess of thought in my head.

Reading? Check. I downloaded the audio book “Grit” by Angela Duckworth. Perhaps an audiobook will allow me to multitask and finish faster.

Writing? I was fresh out of blog post ideas.

I have a scratch pad for my “ideas” somewhere in a box packed up and ready to go to my new home. I knew I had a ton of blog post ideas I generated when I first started. So I dug through boxes, cracked open my idea pad and proceeded to “update” the list and cross-off things I already wrote about.

I was left with just a list of things that were actually the most valuable things to offer in a blog: Tips, ideas and structure on social media marketing strategy.

I felt a little ashamed. Here I was more than a year into this blog and I’ve only so far mostly written about “soft” experiences and general career advice (with a FEW tailored toward social media marketing.)

To be quite truthful, there is a piece of me that is a little afraid to get in writing even some social media principles. Social media changes SO fast, that anything I write can pretty much be defunct in 3 months. Couple that with the fact that I’m always one for improving framework and processes. The process for kicking off a new client with Blend Social Marketing is completely different than it was 6 months ago. I’m constantly learning from things that worked and didn’t work with clients and re-editing my thoughts to fit my findings. Getting it down in a blog post? Wow – that felt so permanent and scary to put out there.

But that changes today. Yes, social media totally changes fast, and yes – maybe the principals I put out there will change quickly too, but that doesn’t mean that the little snippets of information won’t be valuable. So it’s going out there in 3….2….

Two Pillars of Social Strategy: Building & Converting

When I first started “doing” social media as a college graduate, and I was asked to “do” social media on behalf of a client, I was asked to “do” tactics. All we understood at this point was what we could do with social media as a business. We didn’t quite understand the value to what we were doing or the “why”.  We knew what other businesses were doing – we were either copying it because they did it, or experimenting without a real purpose. And that was okay. At that time, social media WAS an experiment. It was completely new, and you HAD to play around with it to find out what the capabilities were and align it with your objectives as a company.

When social media advanced more, TACTICS (those things we DO on social media) fell into two STRATEGIC (the why we do it) buckets: BUILDING & CONVERTING.

Even though Social Media Marketing Strategy has become far more complex, I still use these two basic pillars in almost every strategy I develop. They are great for new brands and easy to comprehend for beginners or those who cannot afford to hire help to develop a social presence.

Social media content, comments left on Instagram photos, comments in Facebook posts, responsive tweets – should aim to support either BUILDING or CONVERTING.

BUILDING tactics help you to grow your community and strengthen your relationship with your community. A piece of the time you dedicate to social media should be on tactics that help to bring people to your pages. Things like targeted “adds”, paid content advertising, influencer relations, leaving comments, liking photos, favoriting tweets, interacting in groups can help to bring awareness to your social media assets. Without BUILDING tactics you have no audience to speak to.  Building tactics can also aim to strengthen relationships with your existing audience – creating bonds. In terms of content creation, ask yourself – is what I’m creating valuable? Will my content ATTRACT people to my pages? Am I giving people a reason to connect with me? Or am I just making noise for the sake of making noise? What does my content say about my brand? What statement am I putting out there? Think about response time to people’s comments and questions as a way to strength relationships with the audience you have built.

CONVERT tactics help you activate your audience toward your objective. If you are a consumer product, CONVERT may be hard sales. It could be web traffic or another step in your Sales funnel. CONVERT tactics aim to move the audience you’ve built to engage further with the brand.  If web traffic is a goal for establishing a dominate social media presence – do you have a blog set up? Are you including links to your website as part of your content? If hard Sales is a goal of yours – are you providing opportunities and incentives for your audience to act and buy your product? In terms of content this could be as simple as creating and distributing discount codes. Or it could be showing utilization of the product in order to stir up want in your audience. CONVERT tactics help bring your audience to your goal.

Solid starter social media strategies should aim to have a balance between both types of tactics. BUILDING provides the “social” part to being social. It allows you to use the resources that social media provides to reach and “touch” new audiences and potential consumers. CONVERTING helps to activate the consumers toward a business goal and provides purpose to social media marketing as an effective part of your marketing mix.